Writing Prompts for Mindfulness:
How do you eat your lunch?
I was reading another beautiful post from my friend Charla Bregante this morning. I am envious! She is on a week-long sabbatical, just her and her dog staying on the beach. You can read her post here.
As a working mom and wife (or dad and husband), it’s a challenge to find alone time, to create space for personal development, spiritual growth, finishing creative projects… many of us spend more time talking about what we want to do than actually getting it done. For some of us, the thought of a week away may seem like an impossible dream. Charla reminds us that we can find quiet time anywhere.
I was thinking about her post when it was time for lunch. I work from home and am grateful to be able to set my own schedule, eat at home and not have anyone shouting after me to be back in an hour.
Wait, an hour?? Are you self-employed? When was the last time you took an hour for lunch.
Do any of these sound like you?
- I eat lunch sitting in front of my computer.
- I eat lunch standing at the kitchen counter.
- I grab a quick snack on the way to pick kids up or meet someone for coffee.
- Oops, is it really dinner time? I forgot about lunch!
- Okay, it’s nice out, I will sit on the patio with my laptop (or iPhone, iPad, Android or other device of choice.)
I live in Santa Barbra, CA. It’s gorgeous here today. The temperature is close to 70 degrees and the skies are cloud-free. My bird of paradise and hibiscus are blooming and the camellia is about to burst forth. This is not uncommon weather for Santa Barbara, so why do I eat lunch in front of my computer? The image above is of one corner of my backyard. The fountain works, everything is green, the oranges are almost ripe and I hadn’t noticed. Below are a bromeliad and orchid that are blooming in my yard. (I can’t take credit for all the plants, the previous owner was a master gardener, I am just trying to keep it all alive. I have finally admitted that I love having a gorgeous garden but I don’t really like to garden!)
I am guilty of each of the actions above at one time or another. When weather permits, I will often sit outside for lunch with my husband, who also works from home. Usually we have our iPhones and are browsing the web or catching up on emails. We might chat about what we are reading, or not.
After reading Charla’s post today, I realized that I have a choice. I am not choosing mindfulness over busyness. I am not choosing stillness and appreciation of nature over the noise and chatter of Facebook. Today, I chose to take my bowl of lentil soup to the patio and just eat. I admired my garden, started dreaming about what to plant in the spring and enjoyed the fresh air.
Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and
nonjudgmentally.” There’s that theme of judgement again. If you missed my post yesterday, it talks about appreciation as the Midas Touch and learning to turn ourselves into gold.
My eyes appreciated the break from the screen today and my mind and spirit reveled in the silence. I always feel better when I make time to meditate, to sit quietly, to write in my journal… I have a long list of activities that remind me to be mindful. I find that when I make time to meditate or create art, I go through the rest of my day with a better attitude. Cooking for me is a great time to be mindful, when I am not tired, rushed or out of groceries that my kids will eat. Or distracted by life, growing my business or the piles of laundry heaped in the garage.
One of the things I have learned about mindfulness is that it does require some organization and preparation on my part to make it a habit. Like exercise, it needs care, cultivation and reminders. I heard a friend say recently that her husband sets a timer on his phone to go off a couple of times a day. When it goes off, he stops whatever he is doing and takes a few deep breaths. Mindfulness isn’t always something that comes naturally, it is a practice. Remembering that it is a practice helps me to slow down, breathe and not judge myself harshly when I eat lunch standing at the kitchen counter.
Today’s writing prompts are about making mindfulness a regular part of your practice.
1. When you hear the term “mindfulness,” what does it mean to you? Write a poem, story or narrative that illustrates mindfulness.
2. Write about your favorite mindfulness or prayer practice. What do you notice about yourself after you complete the activity?
3. Try journal writing as a form of mindfulness. Each morning spend 5 to 15 minutes writing, commit to trying this for one week. It doesn’t matter what you write about but if you need some inspiration, here are a couple of quotes to get you going. Read the quote and write whatever comes.
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”
― Mother Teresa
If you need more creative inspiration in your life, be sure to download my set of Creative Play Cards. Each card includes one word/action to help you be more creative and more mindful in your daily life. And if you would like to share some of your journal entries with others, join me on Facebook on my Life Journal Workshop page.